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Flathead Lake
Vacation Travel Guide

Flathead Lake which includes watersports and boating

Visit the lovely lake created thousands of years ago after glaciers carved ridges, peaks and valleys in Montana’s Rocky Mountains.

The sprawling blue jewel of Flathead Lake with nearly 200 square miles (500 square kilometers) of surface area and more than 160 miles (260 kilometers) of shoreline is the largest natural freshwater lake in the contiguous U.S. west of the Mississippi River. Explore the strikingly beautiful views and recreational opportunities of these vast waters.

Approach the lake on either of two scenic highway routes. On the west see panoramic lake views from lookouts over the crystal clear lake below the towering peaks of the Mission and Swan ranges. The slow winding route along the eastern shoreline offers breathtaking sunset vistas over the lake. In late July stop at roadside stands to sample the fresh crop from the cherry orchards lining the road.

On the lake itself, public beaches and state parks offer access to pebble and sand beaches for watersports enjoyment. The clear waters are perfect for swimming, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and boating. From Dayton Harbor on the western shore, rent a boat and motor to Wild Horse Island State Park for fabulous hiking and wildlife viewing. Look for the herd of wild horses that still inhabit the island.

The consistent breeze and sheltered bays on Flathead Lake make it a sailor’s paradise. Alternatively, rent a powerboat and water skis. Find charters and watercraft rentals at marinas in the villages of Polson, Bigfork, Lakeside, Somers and Dayton. After your day on the water, visit the quaint shops, restaurants and breweries in these small towns.

Fish in the deep waters abundant with lake trout. Bring your gear to look for 50-pound (23-kilogram) lake trout. The sheltered bays offer ice-fishing opportunities when winter weather conditions are right for a thick freeze.

Observe patriotic parades and firework displays in villages around the lakes for Independence Day. Participate in or watch the Montana Dragon Boat Festival on Flathead Lake in September.

Fly into Kalispell’s Glacier Park International Airport and rent a car to enjoy the beauty and pleasures of Flathead Lake.

Top things to do in Flathead Lake

Top Hotels Close to Flathead Lake

Cozy Lakefront log Cabin w/ Lake Views, a Wood Stove, Vintage Decor, & Dock
Cozy Lakefront log Cabin w/ Lake Views, a Wood Stove, Vintage Decor, & Dock
Rollins, MT
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Situated on the waterfront, this cabin is within 3 mi (5 km) of Flathead Lake, Wild Horse Island State Park, and Eagle Cove Trailhead. Skeeko Bay Trailhead and ...
4.8/5Exceptional! (9 reviews)
Fantastic location and view
"Our stay at Snug Harbor was wonderful. It was very relaxing and the view couldn't be beat. We so enjoyed getting out on the lake in the paddle boat provided. It was great to use this as a place to explore not only the lake but all the sights around the area like Glacier National Park, Kalispell, ..."

Reviewed on Oct 3, 2020

Cozy Lakefront log Cabin w/ Lake Views, a Wood Stove, Vintage Decor, & Dock
The Beautiful Moon Rising Estate - Private Flathead Lake Front Property!
The Beautiful Moon Rising Estate - Private Flathead Lake Front Property!
Dayton, MT
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This family-friendly Dayton villa is located on the waterfront, within 1 mi (2 km) of Wild Horse Island State Park and Flathead Lake. Eagle Cove Trailhead and ...
5/5Exceptional! (2 reviews)
Moon rising property
"Gorgeous views and well equipped kitchen. Highly recommend"

Reviewed on Aug 18, 2020

The Beautiful Moon Rising Estate - Private Flathead Lake Front Property!
New Listing! It's Reunion Time! Waterfront Dream House on Flathead Lake
New Listing! It's Reunion Time! Waterfront Dream House on Flathead Lake
Dayton, MT
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This family-friendly Dayton vacation home is located on the waterfront, within 1 mi (2 km) of Wild Horse Island State Park and Flathead Lake. Eagle Cove Trailhead ...
5/5Exceptional! (1 review)
Perfect Getaway
"Our family had the best stay here! Both houses were beautiful with breathtaking views. The morning sunrise over the mountains and lake was spectacular. All ages in our party had an enjoyable time. We played games in the yard, took full advantage of the lake, made a bonfire on the beach, and shared ..."

Reviewed on May 6, 2021

New Listing! It's Reunion Time! Waterfront Dream House on Flathead Lake
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Flathead Lake

Flathead Lake

Best Lodging Options Near Flathead Lake

Cozy Lakefront log Cabin w/ Lake Views, a Wood Stove, Vintage Decor, & Dock
Cozy Lakefront log Cabin w/ Lake Views, a Wood Stove, Vintage Decor, & Dock
Rollins, MT
Cozy Lakefront log Cabin w/ Lake Views, a Wood Stove, Vintage Decor, & Dock
The Beautiful Moon Rising Estate - Private Flathead Lake Front Property!
The Beautiful Moon Rising Estate - Private Flathead Lake Front Property!
Dayton, MT
The Beautiful Moon Rising Estate - Private Flathead Lake Front Property!
New Listing! It's Reunion Time! Waterfront Dream House on Flathead Lake
New Listing! It's Reunion Time! Waterfront Dream House on Flathead Lake
Dayton, MT
New Listing! It's Reunion Time! Waterfront Dream House on Flathead Lake
Yellow Bay Bliss on the East Shore of Flathead Lake With Prime Beach Frontage
Yellow Bay Bliss on the East Shore of Flathead Lake With Prime Beach Frontage
Bigfork, MT
Yellow Bay Bliss on the East Shore of Flathead Lake With Prime Beach Frontage
Studio Condo on Flathead Lake W/water & mtn Views, Shared Dock, & Jetted Tub!
Studio Condo on Flathead Lake W/water & mtn Views, Shared Dock, & Jetted Tub!
Polson, MT
Studio Condo on Flathead Lake W/water & mtn Views, Shared Dock, & Jetted Tub!
Lakefront Studio w/ Water Views, Private Balcony, Dock & Boat Slip Access!
Lakefront Studio w/ Water Views, Private Balcony, Dock & Boat Slip Access!
Polson, MT
Lakefront Studio w/ Water Views, Private Balcony, Dock & Boat Slip Access!
Delightful Lakefront Studio W/water Views From Balcony, and Shared Dock
Delightful Lakefront Studio W/water Views From Balcony, and Shared Dock
Polson, MT
Delightful Lakefront Studio W/water Views From Balcony, and Shared Dock
Missoula hide away....
Missoula hide away....
Bigfork, MT
Missoula hide away....
Lakefront Studio w/ bay Views From Private Balcony, Shared Dock & Boat Slip
Lakefront Studio w/ bay Views From Private Balcony, Shared Dock & Boat Slip
Polson, MT
Lakefront Studio w/ bay Views From Private Balcony, Shared Dock & Boat Slip
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.